Thanks to continued investment and technological innovation, the dental industry is moving through fast-paced, exciting changes. The rise of new procedures and materials is making traditionally painful procedures less annoying and quicker than ever before: Dental science is working hard on new scanning procedures, new enamel replacement techniques, better ways to control mouth disease, and similar processes that will revolutionize the field.
Here are several of the most important trends in dentistry that are currently changing the industry or promise a revolution in the near future:
While CEREC (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics) technology has been around for a while, it has finally reached a point where it is easy for dentists across the industry to use for a wide variety of basic operations, particularly cavity fillings and crown or inlay integration. Essentially, CEREC is a scanning and molding creator. It makes a 3D digital model of the patient’s tooth, then automatically constructs the necessary filling or crown out of the latest ceramic materials through a milling tool. Using CEREC procedures, a patient’s cavity can be filmed, a filling constructed, and that filling implanted, all in the same sitting.
2. Cone Beam Scans:
Cone beam imaging, like CEREC, had quickly developed in recent years to become one of the most useful tools for modern dentists. This type of imaging uses an x-ray beam in the shape of a 3D cone instead of the traditional fan shape, leading to far more accurate pictures and far less time spent sitting in the dentist chair waiting for x-ray adjustments.
3. Bio-Control at the Molecular Level:
At the molecular level, dentistry is growing very interesting. Some of the latest advances in dentistry science are exploring the behavior of oral pathogens and the actions of bacteria that create biofilms on teeth. Dentists hope to create customized molecules that seek out and destroy bacterial enzymes, preventing them from growing in the first place. Not only can these help make dental surgeries safer and less infection-prone, they may also be able to revolutionize the tooth-cleaning industry and prevent cavities.
4. Protein-based Enamel Growth:
While CEREC is an ideal technology for today, many dentists have their eyes on the fillings of tomorrow. Specifically, they want to create protein-based applications that can be administered to cavities and will literally cause enamel to grow back. The key is finding the right synthetic or borrowed proteins, placing them in a liquid substrate, and applying that substrate to the cavity, where it creates molecular scaffolds and helps the enamel layer to slowly regenerate. Tests are currently underway in Sweden as researches seek to commercialize this drill-less technology.
5. Laser Bonding Systems:
Laser bonding systems, like CEREC, have been around for a while but are now more efficient and useful than ever before. Dentists can use a special etching adhesive mixture that reacts when irradiated with a particular type of laser. While this sounds a little dangerous, it is actually completely painless and can lead to far faster bonding of dental implants and fillings without the need to wait for anything to dry. Adhesives and lasers alike have seen large jumps in quality and efficiency in recent years.
6. Remote Diagnostics:
The mobile and digital worlds are having a strong impact on dentistry, too. Slowly but with increasing interest the dentistry world is accepting the use of apps and computer software, especially live cams, to perform remote diagnostics. Today’s clear cameras, when used properly, can offer useful looks into a patient’s mouth – even when that patient is comfortable at home. This cuts down on office time and time in that uncomfortable chair.
Jessie Flesner is a freelance writer in New Albany, Indiana. She often writes about the dental industry for www.pdentalinc.com .